WA Legal Roundup - Washington State Supreme Court
Whoa, a challenge to a Spokane District Court Judge's jurisdiction! So what happened? So under now-repealed statutes, district courts had jurisdiction over ordinance violations, but it the city established a muni court, it had exclusive jurisdiction over its ordinance violations. The municipal court became a department of the district court.
Spokane County had an agreement with the City of Spokane to provide municipal court judges in rotation from the district court. The district court judges were thus referred to collectively as the municipal department. The district court judges were also filled in county elections. Rothwell contended (and the Court of Appeals agreed) that the district court judges weren't properly elected to the municipal bench.
The former statute, RCW 3.46.050, limited election of municipal judges to city voters IF they held such elections. Otherwise, it could be staffed by other judges of the district court by appointment by the mayor in a manner determined by the city legislature.
The Court held that the second option was what the City was doing, and thus the convictions stand.